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The Hillsdale College women’s bas­ketball team began their con­ference schedule with two losses this past week against Ashland Uni­versity and Lake Erie College.

The Chargers traveled to face the Ashland Eagles on Dec. 1, where they fell 77 – 57. Senior captain and guard Chelsea Har­rison led the Charger effort with 21 points and sophomore center Angela Bisaro scored 13.

On Dec. 3, the unde­feated Lake Erie Storm topped the Chargers 68 – 64. In a close battle in Painesville, Ohio, captain Katie Bildner was the high scorer for Hillsdale, dropping 15 points, while sopho­mores Angela Bisaro and Marissa DeMott each added 13.

The Chargers do not attribute their losses to being on the road. A slow start may actually be cited as one of the common denom­i­nators between the two losses. In both games, Hillsdale fell behind from the start and were never able to establish leads for the remainder of reg­u­lation.

“It’s very important to take the lead early in the game. We always talk about winning the first five minutes of each period, and we didn’t do that this past weekend,” Har­rison said. “We waited until late in the game to start working and playing well and we just can’t do that.”

Ashland held an 11-point lead going into halftime as Hillsdale struggled to run an effective offense. Hillsdale tied the game only twice in the first half, due in large part to Ashland’s com­plete dom­i­nation of the paint.

The Eagles outscored the Chargers 18 – 8 in the key during the first half. The Chargers were able to make some adjust­ments at halftime and closed the gap to three points twice before the Eagles ran away with the lead for good.

“After halftime, we started to get excited and show more energy,” Bildner said. “We started to play together and our defense stepped it up. However, once they scored again and our shots weren’t falling, we didn’t keep up our momentum.

“We started rushing things and didn’t play together anymore. That’s when they pulled way.”

Hillsdale took a more focused mindset into their match-up with Lake Erie, but it wasn’t enough to secure a victory.

Despite a hard-fought run at the end of the game, the Chargers could never get com­fortable against a Lake Erie team who received a lot of help from their bench.

While turnovers plagued the Charger effort, the Storm com­mitted just as many (23) during the game. Hillsdale even out-rebounded Lake Erie, but the Storm got to the free-throw line more than Hillsdale and made their oppor­tu­nities count, earning 19 of their 68 points from the line.

“The dif­ference between us and Lake Erie was that Lake Erie exe­cuted and took advantage of our turnovers, while when we turned it over, we didn’t take advantage,” Har­rison said.

The Chargers look to improve upon last week’s losses tonight against the Uni­versity of Findlay in their first home game. The women’s other game this week, also at home, will be on Sat­urday against Lake Superior State Uni­versity.